Saturday 24 March 2018

Murphy aiming high with Euphrasia

Trainer Aidan O'Brien after sending out Magician at the Curragh last weekend. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Trainer Aidan O'Brien after sending out Magician at the Curragh last weekend. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Euphrasia's effort to get within a head of Magician when third in Sunday's Tattersalls Gold Cup might have confirmed that the Curragh contest was a substandard Group One, but it could also go down as the training performance of the weekend.

Joe Murphy, whose Fethard-based operation is a minnow compared to the shark that is its Coolmore neighbour, is the man responsible for adding to the Windsor Knot five-year-old's value as a potential broodmare.

He had already succeeded in winning Listed and Group Three events with his 12,000-guinea purchase, but to get her placed in a Group One that wasn't confined to the fairer sex trumps those firsts.

Aidan O'Brien said the main reason he allowed Magician to run on such heavy ground was to save the 10-furlong contest's endangered status as a top-level race. Still, that it was won by the 117-rated Noble Mission and that the 50/1 shot Euphrasia got to within two lengths of him to prompt an 11lb hike in her mark of 100 did little to alter the perception that the Tattersalls Gold Cup's lofty billing is untenable.

However, conditions certainly played to the strengths of Euphrasia, and Murphy is now plotting a tilt at the Pretty Polly Stakes on June 29.

"She's a filly still on the up and I wasn't surprised she ran so well," said Murphy of his stable star.

"She might have been a 50/1 shot, but she was 33/1 when she won the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas last year.

"I think she could be capable of running a serious race in a very big race somewhere along the line. She's very game and tough and, with another furlong, it would have been interesting on Sunday. She'll go for the Pretty Polly back at the Curragh now."

Murphy pulled off a similar feat with Ardbrae Lady, which he saddled to be third in the 2005 Moyglare Stud Stakes before taking second behind Nightime in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Acquired for 20,000 guineas, the daughter of Overbury was sold for 260,000 guineas last December.

As a measure of how her Group One pedigree transfers as saleable commodity, six of Ardbrae Lady's offspring have sold at public auction for a cumulative figure of close to €1m.

Marco Botti, meanwhile, has suggested that his Irish 1,000 Guineas flop Al Thakhira could return for the Group Three Brownstown Stakes over seven furlongs at Fairyhouse in July.

Irish Independent

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